Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?



“The eye with which I see God,
and the eye with which God sees me
are the same eye.” Meister Eckhardt




Fans often ask writers, where do you get your ideas?

This hasn’t happened to me yet, since I don’t yet have any fans, but it’s a question I’ve often asked other writers. I’m not going to tell you where I get ideas. But I propose to illustrate to you the mentality from which creative ideas come. You take a thought. Any thought. The trick is the spin, how you spin it. So we’re going to get very weird, and this may get long, so go use the toilet now if you need to.

Let’s talk about death.

I believe in death. Death is the only thing I know for sure is waiting in my future. As one of my characters, Nixie, once observed “The best evidence of a soul is the vacancy of a corpse.” I’m not sure what happens next, and as I crawl towards the grave I think about it more and more.

A couple of weeks ago I was writing here about Kabbalah and the view of the afterlife proposed by western Hermetic magicians, and how it parallels traditional Tibetan Buddhist ideas about the afterlife. To recap, these belief systems state that behind the physical reality (“Malkuth” or “Maya”) of the world where ego- Sanchez-Garcia is sitting in a Starbucks pecking at a keyboard and thinking he needs to use the toilet soon, behind this world is another in-between world, the world of “Yetzirah” or the Astral, or the Bardo as the Tibetans call it. This parallel world of the Bardo is the world immediately after the death experience and prior to the birth experience. This, they all agree, is a world of slippery illusion.


Hermetic magicians believe that thoughts create actual forms in the Astral or Bardo plane. These forms are inert until the magician imbues them with intense emotional content through ceremonial magic. In effect he gives life to them. It doesn’t have to be a magician, magicians are just the ones doing this on purpose. A mother kneeling in desperate prayer to save the life of her child is doing exactly the same thing, bending reality with the intensity of her desire.

What if . . .

Those are the magic words by which writers conjure the imagination.

What if . . . this were true. What if . . reincarnation were also true. What if . . . the soul is meant, not for final and static judgment, but dynamic evolution. Three “What ifs . . . “ Let’s take them for a spin.

I have died. Just now. Ego-Sanchez-Garcia has croaked at his keyboard in a Starbucks in a shopping mall and the college girls working the coffee counter are in a panic who to call first, the manager or 911. Bye-bye.

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as the body shuts down it experiences distinct levels of light and sound – which eerily resemble what medical subjects in sensory isolation experiments have also reported. After the last level, during which a pure white light is experienced, there is a space of pure empty being without the experience of ego or personality. It is described as a pure clear sky at midnight of vast distance and emptiness and tranquility. In this moment the soul has the opportunity to surrender itself to the Godhead and achieve enlightenment in the Astral. If it refuses out of fear, and almost all souls do, it tumbles back into the world of experience. What happens next seems to depend on the person. If a Christian, he might meet Jesus or fall before the throne of an angry and lordly God of Hosts surrounded by winged angels. If a Muslim, maybe a Caliphs garden with beautiful adoring hoaris. According to the Tibeten Buddhist lama Chogyam Trungpa, none of these experiences are what they seem. They are real enough, but not in the sense that we think of reality. Rather, these are the desperate creations of the ego-soul in isolation grasping at life as it knows it, generating its own reality on the fly, because it needs something to be in relationship with in order to define and nail down its own existence. Things must fill that void. The things and particularly the people who appear are what the Tibetan lamas refer to as “tulpas”. It has a flexibility that makes sense to me. It fits human nature as I know it. An evil man, no longer able to hide his evil from himself, might find himself in Hell attacked by devils. A good man might find himself in gardens of peace surrounded by the people he loved most.

What if . . .

I love women. I love their company, much more than men. I love the way a room feels when a woman is in it, the sound of the female voice, the appearance of the female body, the insistent nurturing of the female nature. I’m married and faithful and etc, but there are many women over a life time I wish I’d known better and have thought of often and with affection.

What if . . . I have already unknowingly created tulpas of these women in the astral plane?

Let’s give that thought a spin.

Let’s start with one, we’ll call her R. I know R in the real world even now, she’s for real. She’s married to a man she adores and is devoted to. She’s a smart, sensuous woman, this R, and in a better world we might have been very close. But if I think about her enough, then in the Astral – hey – there she is, coming up to greet me. Coming up to indulge in the intimacy we could not have indulged in when we were in the world. Time – or something like it – passes and we become very intimate, very physical, very devoted and riotous lovers who constantly crave each others company, pleasure and conversation as we explore our new world together.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

The Real R is on her death bed. She dies in some other place at some other time. In the Bardo, her own Bardo, she meets her beloved husband, her grown children, some lost lover or two, but I am not in the congregation, I didn’t rate that high on the passionate thoughts scale when she was alive. In a way she is in two places at once. Ego–R, the Real R, is reunited with those she loved in life, and the other, the Tulpa R, is with me.

Here’s another interesting thought. Putting all this woo-woo aside for a minute, think about this one. The people you love, the person you think you know, how well do you really know them? How well do you know even yourself? Is your image and understanding ever going to perfectly match the way they perceive themselves? In the end what you have is an image of the person according to your own perceptions and those perceptions are always going to be distorted by what your ego wants to be true. There will always be a limit to what you can ever know about a person, no matter how intimately.



What happens to the Real R is anyone’s guess. But the Tulpa R – we’re very attached to each other. I don’t want to let her go, but my time of rebirth is coming, experienced in the astral as death, and I’m forced to accept the tragedy that now I have to give her up. What greater pain, than to find a great consuming love and then be forced to give it up, in this world or the next? I think this may happen to everyone if tulpas exist. So I am reborn, not as ego-Sanchez-Garcia, but as the reincarnation of “R”, not based on the original “real” R who lived and died apart from me, but Tulpa R, a creation of ego-Sanchez-Garcia, because this was the fiercest karmic attachment I had before I was reborn; this tulpa woman who has now been given a body and experience in this plane, created from scratch from my own love and desire for my own astral creation, and now infused as the vehicle of my soul. In this way R has been reincarnated, on a totally different trajectory, while ego-R, the Real R, is maybe reincarnated as whatever her Tulpa husband was, or lost lover, or whoever she was most passionately attached to during her sojourn in the astral. Imagine if the Tulpa-R now reincarnated as a certain woman, met the Real R, reincarnated as the tulpa of her previous husband, ( i. e. now she is a man), met each other? Would they not be magnetically drawn to each other?
And why not?


What if the original Ego-R, the Real R, had been my material world lover, and I, her material world lover, became her best tulpa-creation, whom she also longed for and astrally created from desire, and we had been materially reborn – as each other?

Could this be the spiritual secret behind soul mates?

Here is the great weird secret universal to all esoteric religions – pay attention I’m going to throw out something interesting now.

Lets suspend disbelief about all this woo-woo for a miunte and say the afterlife experience is an illusion of ego and exists in its own plane of reality and not reality as we know it.

If yes, therefore –

The God we worship does not exist.

That exoteric God is a projection of our own human nature, as all the gods new and old have always been. They are all tulpas, fashioned by Man after his own fractured image, and then worshipped as man's creator when the opposite is true.

But.

The desire to create an anthropomorphized God after our own image is the very spark of the Divine within, it is an echo of the act of God creating Man after His/Her own image. It’s just what God does.

Mankind, we are God’s tulpas.

And before I forget, this kind of convoluted thinking? How many balls can you get going in the air? This is where story ideas come from.




C. Sanchez-Garcia

11 comments:

  1. Hello, Garce,

    You know, this is going to sound extremely weird, but this post makes an awful lot of sense.

    Admiringly,
    Lisabet

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  2. This post makes all kinds of sense. You and I, we think alike.

    And...hey, I'm a fan. I'm just a quiet one. ;-)

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  3. Hi Garce,

    beautifully imagined but infinitely recursive.

    There is a scientific base for a version of what you've proposed here:superpositioning of wave forms in a multiverse.

    It doesn't sound as much fun as yours but it allows for the idea that in with every decision we take we kill (in our version of the multiverse) the us who would have taken a different decision,

    The problem, I think, is that in all multiverses, (including your astral plain) everything always dies.

    It seems to be a condition of existence.

    If there was a God, I'd like to believe that she gave us the capacity to ask "what if?" to make up for our short life spans and limited intellects. I'd also like to think that she gives writers ideas as her way of rolling the dice.

    Thanks for this well thought through piece.

    I especially loved the line
    “The best evidence of a soul is the vacancy of a corpse.” I've seen a few of those and there really is nothing there at all. The size of the absence seems to be infinite

    And I will quote your ending: "We are all God's Tulpas"

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  4. Lisabet!

    You're right, that does sound weird. Unexpected, really. Honestly, when I came here to check in I was surprised anyone read this, its so long and so totally off the rails I sort of despaired of anybody making it to the end.

    In a way its kind of bleak, because what it suggests on one hand is that we are alone, we're not falling into the hands of an angry God, but we're not tumbling into the arms of our original lover either. But in way, this is how I experience the world already, kind of moving through in a sort of spiritual bubble I'm always trying to break out of. I think writers are essentially lonely or solitary souls. Its partly why we're able to dig that far into our heads and stay there long enough to cough up a novel or a story.

    Garce

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  5. Lisabet!

    You're right, that does sound weird. Unexpected, really. Honestly, when I came here to check in I was surprised anyone read this, its so long and so totally off the rails I sort of despaired of anybody making it to the end.

    In a way its kind of bleak, because what it suggests on one hand is that we are alone, we're not falling into the hands of an angry God, but we're not tumbling into the arms of our original lover either. But in way, this is how I experience the world already, kind of moving through in a sort of spiritual bubble I'm always trying to break out of. I think writers are essentially lonely or solitary souls. Its partly why we're able to dig that far into our heads and stay there long enough to cough up a novel or a story.

    Garce

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  6. Catherine

    I have a fan! I have a fan!

    And it makes sense? That's amazing too. Maybe there are more people out there who think this way than i imagine. Never know.

    Garce

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  7. Mike!

    You are gonna be so good for this blog. Can't wait.

    I've heard this too, about infinate universes. Somewhere out there my dreams have come true, but just not here. Maybe in some universe out there I get the girls.

    But do we die and then there's nothing? Actually the evidence seems to be yes. There's very little these days going on in our consciousness that can;t be traced to electro-chemical processes. And yet and yet. When I look at myself in the mirror, there always seem to be this other person behind the person looking back I can;t account for, and I keep hoping this spooky person will go on.

    I would at least say this much - Someone once asked the celebrity-astronomer Carl Sagan, do you believe there is intelligent life in the universe? He said, "If there's not, what a tragic waste of space." We live, we go through all this crazy frustrating shit and then what - nothing? If so, if there is nothing after death, what a tragic waste of experience.

    Garce

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  8. Garce - have no fear of the afterlife. We write, and our stories take on their own lives. So just breathe a little of your soul into each story, and viola! instant immortality.

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  9. I told my kids years ago that the body at a wake is discarded because just as they outgrew their pants, the person's soul outgrew the body and they left it behind. Energy and matter can't be created or destroyed, they only change form. I'm not sure if we will retain consciousness or memory of self, (no matter what Shirley McClain thinks!)...but I like your explanation that we are all God's tulpas. It makes sense. Also supports what else husband and I have told the kids: that when we are camping in the woods, we are in "church", because God is the part that is living in all living things, including the plants/trees/insects/animals. And us.
    Thanks for something far from the usual ideas in blogs. Thanks for making me think. I like it.

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  10. When I was a grad student and had the time (and companions) for long, convoluted philosophical and existential discussions (those were the days!), I came up with what I called "the chicken wire theory of the universe".

    There are infinite universes, defined as Mike suggests by each decision point. But making a decision doesn't kill the alternatives. (After all, why should it, if multiple universes can exist simultaneously as evidence and theory suggests that they can.)

    At every choice point the life-lines diverge, creating new universes. And sometimes, the universes can converge as well. Hence the chicken wire.

    (Remind me to tell you sometime about the French Bread theory of time, also from that period of my life...)

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  11. silly Garce, I'd get hot and sweaty with my Tulpa G too.
    xoxo
    R

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